Today is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Would you believe in telling someone about this day a week or so ago, I actually had someone tell me "Another HIV/AIDS Awareness Day? Doesn't that take away from a day like World AIDS Day?"
My response--after self-censoring--was "Are you kidding me? There can NEVER be enough awareness--especially when it comes to educating girls and women!"
I promptly pulled up The Red Pump Project's website and let that person (who was a woman, mind you) start to read some of the statistics that Karyn of The Fabulous Giver and Luvvie of Awesomely Luvvie so fabulously post about the rate of HIV/AIDS spreading amongst not only women, but African-American women and women of Color. The woman I was speaking with honestly didn't know. She had been getting tested herself for a few years, but didn't realize the impact HIV/AIDS was really taking on our community.
As someone who can admit to probably spending far too much time online, I take for granted those who do not, and therefore, do not have the all sorts of facts, websites, and information literally at their fingertips. That is why not only is it important for those of us who can to speak up to anyone who will listen on our websites and blogs, but also for us to GET OUT IN THE STREETS! Support agencies who are actively working to spread the message about practicing safe sex and getting tested.
One of my favorite organizations that I was blessed to learn about through my day job is Bronx AIDS Services. They have an initiative called "Bronx ATTITUDE" which is an HIV counseling and testing initiative for women of color. Bronx ATTITUDE provides an opportunity for women of color to discuss and get information about HIV testing and to share testing experiences in the hopes of influencing similar decisions with their friends and social networks at church, clubs, beauty salons, etc.
Bronx AIDS Services will be hosting a "Divas and Dolls Wellness Carnival" this Saturday, March 13 in the Bronx. You can click on the link for information. But if you are in NYC, I encourage you to bring your daughters age 12 and up. It's never to early to start educating them on HIV/AIDS, safe sex practices, etc. Bronx AIDS Services will provide information for parents who might not know how to start the conversation with their children, will provide free rapid HIV testing on site, will be giving out Safe Sex Kits, and more.
Yes, HIV and AIDS is a global epidemic. But we all have the power to educate our own communities. Luvvie & Karyn, thank you for being the Independent Women that you are and starting The Red Pump Project. It is the perfect example of "Thinking Globally & Acting Locally". I am so proud to "Rock The Red Pump" and look forward to getting more active in the cause throughout 2010 and onward.